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What Are the Systemic, Corporate, and Individual Ethical Issues Raised by This Case?

Essay by Lisa Whitmore  •  October 14, 2018  •  Article Review  •  1,284 Words (6 Pages)  •  92 Views

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  1. What are the systemic, corporate, and individual ethical issues raised by this case?

The systemic issues that have be raised by this case are to include economics, where the cacao sales had experienced a decline. This decline hurt many farmers and so prices dropped and many of these farmers were unable to pay wages. Many of them turned to slavery for the survival. Between the years 1996 to 2000 is when this drop had occurred. A legal issue stemming is that slavery is illegal in the Ivory Coast but is very seldom enforced due to boarders being open, as well as the culture of bribes being accepted. The systemic issue being raised that has the most negative affect is that of child trafficking. This enormous problem seems to be overlooked by corporations, governments and many individuals. Child trafficking is all inclusive as it involves the government, the cocoa corporations, the smaller chocolate companies, the growers and plantation owners, the children involved, and their families. There are often corrupt governments who turn the other way and sometimes have a hand in these illegal behaviors. The middle men, who most likely have full knowledge of what is happening but choose to act like do not see what is going on. There reasoning is likely to be related to wanting to get the most product for the lowest cost. This is then passed on to big corporations who may or may not have knowledge of whether or not the product that they are buying is in fact from a farm who uses child slavery. It is further implicated that the parents and families of these children are sending their children to work or perhaps selling them. Individuals who participate in purchasing and consuming chocolate from known child slavery farms also have a responsibility in the problem. Therefor reaffirming to the corporations who without motivation (sales decline) will continue with business as usual.

  1. In your view, is the kind of child slavery discussed I the case absolutely wrong no matter what, or is it only relatively wrong, i.e., if one happens to live in a society (like ours) that disapproves of child slavery? Explain your view and why you hold it.

In my view, the kind of child slavery is absolutely wrong and I will never view it as right or relatively wrong in any way, shape, or form. Try to view this case as in terms of survival, where families may need all hands on deck, I might see how having one’s own children help would make sense. This is not the case here, they are buying children so that they can save money and abusing these innocent children who like it state sometimes do not speak the language. Thinking about how they must feel and the mental and physical trauma they have endured is uncomfortable to think about.

  1. Who shares in the moral responsibility for the slavery occurring in the chocolate industry?

 

The moral responsibility for slavery in the chocolate industry is shared by all. The plantation owners and farmers should not under any circumstance be using children for labor. Although this practice of using child slaves has become the normal standard for the area, I also believe that it is the responsibility of countries and companies who are industrialized to go and teach them a new way to do business, however long it takes. The government has been largely responsible for covering it up, their unwillingness to uphold laws and perceived support of these plantations and farmers. Consumers hold a responsibility by giving a passing consent to what is going on and not acknowledging it by continuing to support companies who are involved in producing chocolate from farmer who use slave labor. The middle men and corporations hold a very large responsibility in that they continue to purchase from these farmers even after knowing their practices. They have also signed an agreement that they would stop, the fact that they continue is illegal, immoral, and unethical. I personally believe that they could afford to pay for the product they seek and that could so good will and that is a good step towards helping to stop trafficking.

  1. Consider the bill that Representive Engle and Senator Harkin attempted to enact into a law, but which never became a law because of the lobbying efforts of the chocolate companies. What does this incident show about the view that “to be ethical it is enough for businesspeople to follow the law”?

 

This Bill which according to the text, was introduced by Representative Engel in 2001. My understanding is that this Bill would have had companies label their products stating that they are from slave free zones. This would have placed a very well placed responsibility on these big corporations by requiring them to not only put on their labels where it will publicly be known. They will if they want a positive ethical image will also force them to become aware of where and whom they buy from. That would have taking away the defense they hold about it is not their responsibility because they don’t know where their products are grown. I read that lobbyist for these companies and the bill did not get passed. Not, passing this shows companies that if laws aren’t broken then they are free do as they please in the best interest of their bottom line.

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